The Movie Waffler New to Prime Video - MIDWAY | The Movie Waffler

New to Prime Video - MIDWAY

midway review
Dramatisation of the WWII battle of Midway.

Review by Ben Peyton

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

Starring: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Woody Harrelson, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Brennan Brown, Jun Kunimura, Etsushi Toyokawa Geoffrey Blake, Peter Shinkoda

midway dvd

Roland Emmerich, World War II and the true account of one single day that turned the war in the Pacific. Combining these three things will either fill you with excitement or dread. If you’re unfamiliar with Mr Emmerich’s work you only need to do a quick google search to see that he’s responsible for huge blockbusters such as Independence Day, White House Down and The Day After Tomorrow. Movies not to everyone’s taste, but there aren’t many directors out there that know how to pull off the spectacular like he can.

midway review

Opening with the explosive and devastating attack on the US naval fleet at Pearl Harbour, which saw America lose its neutral status and officially join the war, what comes next is an overlong look at how America’s military tacticians and codebreakers beat the Japanese at their own game. We follow a small band of brothers as they fight back against overwhelming odds, culminating in the monumental battle for Midway, a small group of islands that holds the key to potential dominance in the race for victory.

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There’s an extremely impressive ensemble cast on display, however none of them have anything to get their teeth into. Maverick pilot Dick Best (Ed Skrein) goes from rebelling against his superiors to leading his own squadron in the blink of an eye and Intelligence Officer Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) has no arc whatsoever, and this is where the film crash lands. With hardly any character development, young American soldiers may have varying styles of facial hair to try and differentiate them, but they still end up looking identical and you’ll probably stop trying to figure out who’s who after one too many players are introduced. Even legendary director John Ford (Geoffrey Blake) makes an appearance, filming his Oscar winning documentary, The Battle of Midway, amid the mayhem.

midway review

They’re all a fairly likeable bunch and Skrein leads the story well, but it’s all too crowded with Luke Evans, Nick Jonas and Dennis Quaid having very little to do. And poor old Aaron Eckhart may get more screen time in the director’s cut, because here his limited presence surely isn’t what he signed up for. The Japanese cast bring style and gravitas, but all are let down by a script which is clunky and gung-ho.

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The aerial battles are where the film earns its wings and are its saving grace. These are, at times, breath-taking. The bullets crack and fizz, the canons boom and the roar of the jet engines combined with some cinematic wizardry, are astonishing. Emmerich’s aerodynamics are in full flow and it’s disappointing when he brings us back down to the ground.

midway review

At about 140 minutes long, Midway could have easily lost half an hour and been a lot more enjoyable. As it is, apart from the thrilling dogfights which will please Emmerich purists, it ultimately stalls and doesn’t hit the lofty heights it was aiming for.

Midway is on Prime Video UK now.